The 6th edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) 2017 was an eventful affair that included an exciting lineup of film screenings, panel discussions and much more. Konkona Sen Sharma who was presented the screening of her award winning directorial debut A Death In the Gunj at DIFF, 2017.
The day started with the screening of Deepak Rauniyar’s White Sun, the Oscar Nominated film from Nepal. The other screenings of the day included Pushpendra Singh’s Ashwatthama, Ektara Collective’s Turup, Rahul Jain’s Machines, and Iram Haq’sWhat Will People Say and drew in audiences in large numbers.
Actor-director Konkona Sen Sharma presented a screening of her acclaimed feature. A Death in the Gunj and in the Q&A that followed, she enthusiastically responded to the audiences questions.
Noted actor Adil Hussain conducted a Masterclass session. Titled The Freewheelin’ Adil Hussain, the session saw the actor speaking about his process and journey as an actor.
A Panel discussion titled Charting Troubled Waters saw noted filmmakers from five different countries speak about what independent filmmaking stands for in their respective countries. Moderated by noted film writer and critic Aseem Chhabra, the panel included filmmakers Yaniv Berman (Land Of The Little People, Israel), Lijo Jose Pellissery (Angamaly Diaries, India), Mano Khalil (The Swallow, Switzerland) and Yoshinori Sato (Her Mother, Japan).
A discussion on Women In Cinema was conducted today which included celebrated women filmmakers and actors including Konkona Sen Sharma (A Death In The Gunj), Ritu Sarin (When Hari Got Married and founder – director of DIFF), Sayani Gupta (The Hungry), Rasika Duggal (The School Bag), Bornila Chatterjee (The Hungry), Ekavali Khanna (What Will People Say), Maheen Mirza (Turup) and Rinchin (Turup). The discussion touched on a diverse range of topics such as equal pay for women and bridging the gap between mainstream and independent cinema.
Actor-Director Konkona Sen Sharma who was extremely delighted to be at the festival said, “It is my first time at Dharamshala and it was magical. I love Tibetian food, the mountains and independent cinema and I am so excited to be here.”
Winding up the day, founder-director Ritu Sarin said, “It has been an exceptionally beautiful day. Today we had an amazing session with Adil Hussain where he spoke about his practice and process as an actor. Everyone is enjoying being at the festival.Ashwatthama was highly appreciated and so was Turup. The documentaries Machines and Cameraperson were also screened today. And the audiences really had a tough time today deciding what to watch.”
This year’s line-up includes two award-winning documentaries—Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson (USA, 2016), Rahul Jain’s Machines (India, 2016) which screened at 10 international film festivals, and won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Excellence in Cinematography at 2017’s Sundance Film Festival.
DIFF 2017 will also feature the Indian premiere of Out of This World (USA), a newly restored version of journalist and writer Lowell Thomas’ fascinating account of his travels to Tibet in 1949 (originally released in 1954).
This year’s feature films include Dain Said’s Interchange (Malaysia, 2016), Yaniv Berman’s Land of the Little People (Israel, 2016), Dechen Roder’s Honeygiver Among the Dogs (Bhutan, 2016), Yoshinori Sato’s Her Mother (Japan), Mano Khalil’s The Swallow (Switzerland), Karma Takapa’s Ralang Road, which premiered at this year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival (an Indian film to be selected at the fest after 13 years), and Deepak Rauniyar’s Oscar entry from Nepal, White Sun which premiered at 73rd Venice Film Festival and won Interfilm Award and new voices/new visions grand jury prize at the Palm Springs festival.
DIFF continues its tradition of showcasing experimental films by presenting the South Asia premieres of three features by well-known artists and filmmakers: Amar Kanwar’s Such a Morning (India), and Naeem Mohaiemen’s Tripoli Cancelled (Bangladesh), both of which premiered this year at Documenta 14; and Singapore filmmaker Tan Pin Pin’s In Time to Come, which had its world premiere at Visions du Reel and was in competition at Hot Docs and Sheffield Doc Fest.
This year’s shorts selection is curated by filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni, whilst our Children’s Film Programme is curated by children’s media specialist Monica Wahi.
DIFF 2017 registrations are now open and passes can be bought online on Book My Show – https://in.bookmyshow.com/events/dharamshala-international-film-festival-2017/ET00061905
DIFF is presented by White Crane Arts & Media, a trust founded by veteran filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam to promote contemporary cinema, art and independent media practices in the Himalayan regions of India.
This year’s festival is once again supported by its long-term partners, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, and the Government of Himachal Pradesh through its departments of Tourism, and Language, Arts, and Culture.
The first edition of DIFF was held in 2012. Since then, it has become established as one of India’s leading independent film festivals. DIFF’s cutting-edge and eclectic programming, which includes many India premieres, and its policy of inviting as many directors as possible, has made it one of the ‘go-to’ events in any cinephile’s calendar. At DIFF 2016, hundreds of cinema enthusiasts from across India and the world converged to watch films and discuss the state of modern cinema—whilst some of India’s best-known film critics and journalists were on hand to cover the event.